Connecticut four-piece Beijing released their debut album, Night recently. Beijing is an American alternative rock band from New Haven, CT. The band is comprised of Eric Thornberg (vocals/guitar), Thom Smith (guitar/synths), Bill Pruchnicki (drums) and Jack Hoopingarner (bass). Their style has elements of a dark, melancholy, alternative rock sound made famous in the 90’s by bands like Sunny Day Real Estate and Smashing Pumpkins, fused with big choruses and spacey guitar reminiscent of modern bands like Jimmy Eat World and Kings of Leon.
The band formed in the Spring of 2011 and released their debut EP, It’s Not So Simple. The four song EP consisted of simple and unique grunge rock inspired pop songs characterised by Thornberg’s unique vocal style set to a soundtrack of layered fuzz and amplifier feedback.
After spending most of late 2011 and early 2012 maturing together as a band and writing a massive amount of new material, Beijing headed into the studio to record their full length debut, Night. The album was released on May 7 2013. Inspired by feelings of love, loss and hope, Night showcases the sound that Beijing has become. Dark and spacey melodies collide with huge distorted guitars, provoking emotion and thought inside of a dark and dense, yet beautiful atmosphere.
Beijing have a gift for producing euphoric guitar riffs and a brilliant atmospheric live sound. All of the songs on Night feel real – they feel as if the band is performing right in front of you. There’s passion in Thornberg’s raw vocals – not once does this passion dwindle.
Beginning track Acrobat starts with a haunting, desolate guitar riff and Thornberg’s desperate vocals. It’s a mind-blowing first track for the album, it summarises what Beijing have become so precisely. The song suddenly builds half way through presenting a solid rock song full of emotion and raw talent.
Track two Into The Rain is quite similar to the likes of The Goo Goo Dolls and it’s definitely more of an upbeat number than Acrobat. It’s your typical American 90s rock song and let’s be honest, who doesn’t love this sound? It’s a song meant for a soundtrack. The guitar riffs cut straight through you into your bones leaving you gasping for more. There are so many layers and changes of tempo in this track that you can’t help but fall in love with it.
Violent is another track that kicks-ass, well and truly. You can almost imagine Caleb Followill’s voice taking the place of Thornberg’s – it’s very similar to the new sound of Kings of Leon. The second half of the track is especially poignant with those echoing, high-pitched guitar riffs made so popular by Kings of Leon.
Let Down is the ballad of Night. The lyrics, “It’s gonna cut you up/But you won’t even know/You’re bloody and you’re broken/Keep coming back for more it’s sick…” summarise the idea behind this song. The lyrics are marvellous while Thornberg’s vocals on Let Down are perfection. There’s enough rawness, enough emotion and just enough energy to make them the most memorable on the whole record. The track starts acoustically while the electric guitar and drums are introduced later. This gives the listener long enough to hear Thornberg’s vocals stripped bare compared to the other songs on Night. His voice is unique – he manages to sound innocent while also managing to sound in control and passionate. In Let Down, the listener can associate with his feelings, you’re dragged into it and that’s what makes it such an interesting song.
Night is a great rock record from Beijing. Each musician is very good at what they do and the dynamics work perfectly which makes listening to Night a breeze. If you’re looking for an alternative rock album that’s an easy listen, Night is for you.
Night is available to buy now.